Survey suggests that employees much prefer regular check-ins to traditional annual reviews.
Increasingly, employees say that they would much rather have employers do regular check-ins than count on annual reviews to discuss performance and determine raises and bonuses. For instance, in one recent survey, 84% of respondents said that frequent check-ins are important to them. Among Generation Zers, 90% says these face-to-face interactions are important; and 40% of these younger workers say they are very important. While the annual review may still serve a purpose, it’s important to determine if more frequent check-ins might contribute to employee retention and engagement, especially among younger employees.
According to survey results, large organizations are more likely to have regular check-ins than midsize or smaller companies. In fact,17% of employees from small companies say they’ve never had a check-in. The frequency of check-ins varies. About a third of employees say they meet with their manager monthly, while 12% have check-ins every two weeks; and 8% meet fewer than every six months.
Why do many employees prefer regular check-ins? There are several reasons:
· They are more timely. They enable employers to address concerns while they are still “fresh” and correct problems or errors promptly. They can ensure that any new or additional training required can be scheduled as soon as the need is identified.
· They eliminate the stress of the annual review. Both employers and workers often find the annual review anxiety-inducing because so much is riding on that single meeting.
· They limit agility. While goal-setting is important, goals established in January may not be realistic or appropriate in September or even May. When they are tied to structured goals, workers may not feel they have the freedom or authority to make decisions, be innovative, or think outside the box.
· They are time-intensive. Where the check-in can be done in a few minutes, the review can take up to an hour, and this doesn’t account for the time, effort, and thought both the supervisors and the employee put into preparation.
· They actually can be demotivating. When their compensation is tied to goals set once a year, employees may not see annual reviews as a fair way to assess performance that has evolved over time. At the same time, being judged for something that happened six months ago can feel more punitive than helpful.
Of course, there are advantages to annual reviews:
· They ensure an opportunity for one-on-one feedback.
· They provide broad access to information.
· While they aren’t perfect and may not be popular, they are a proven technique to track and assess performance.
Before eliminating the annual review or initiating regular check-ins, it might be helpful to survey supervisors and employees alike regarding what types of evaluations they would find most helpful. Whatever you decide, there are some basic rules to follow for these interactions: Respect the time, make it a safe space to share concerns, be honest, be a coach (not a dictator), encourage two-way communication, ask what YOU can do better, and make career development a priority.